One of the more disappointing games of 2015 was FAST Racing Neo, a futuristic racing game that had great potential, but squandered it by not including some important options. But while the sequel Fast RMX (Switch) doesn’t add all of the options it needs, it’s still a noticeable improvement over its predecessor.
In many ways, Fast RMX is a lot like Fast Racing Neo. You drive a floating futuristic “car” (in the loosest sense of the word) over twisty tracks that more like rollercoasters with missing parts than anything you’d find at a real race track. Or even in Mario Kart 8. Besides being nicely twisted, which makes for fun racing, these courses also have jumps you can easily fail to land if you’re not careful, as well as such hazards as mid-track structures that would seem to run counter to building codes, lights that have lasers where their light bulbs should be, and side barriers that aren’t high enough to keep you on the track if you take a turn too fast.
Most importantly, Fast RMX has a great sense of speed, you really feel like you’re flying down the track. It also has the kind of responsive, intuitive controls you need when you’re, well, flying down the track at a high rate of speed. All of which applies whether you play the game’s “Championship” or multiplayer modes.
While this might have you thinking Fast RMX is like F-Zero or one of the Wipeout games, you’d be right. Well, for the most part. There are some important distinctions. First, you have no weapons or defensive capabilities. And while this does have power-ups, they just replenish your boost meter.
Second, while many futuristic racing games have sections of their tracks that give you a burst of speed when you drive over them, the ones in Fast RMX are color coded: yellow or blue. These correspond to the colors your vehicle’s external lights can be switched between. Match them, you’ll get that burst of speed. Mismatch, and you’ll slow to a crawl.
This color coding also applies to those power-ups I mentioned earlier. Not only do they also come in yellow or blue, but they only replenish the boost meters of the same color, which you can only use when your car is that color. Though, on the plus side, this means you have two boost meters you can drain when you really need some added velocity.
While all of these mechanics work as well as they did in FAST Racing Neo — and, as mentioned, as well in single-player as they do multiplayer — Fast RMX also adds some much-needed options that were strangely absent from its predecessor.
For starters, Fast RMX lets you customize the buttons. Which means that instead of having to use the “A” button to accelerate and the “B” button to brake, as per the default setting, you can instead use the right and left triggers to make it more like every other racing game you’ve played in the last four years. Just don’t forget to reconfigure your ship’s left and right leaning buttons if you find this maneuver to be necessary, which I don’t.
Fast RMX also gives you the option to turn the music down, or even off, something FAST Racing Neo didn’t but should’ve because its music was just as horrible. Though the terrible tunes do fit the dated-looking menus and equally cheesy menu music, so there’s that.
Sadly, while Fast RMX does correct some of its predecessor’s mistakes, it doesn’t fix them all. And not just in the look of the menus. Most notably, the game doesn’t have a cockpit view, just three different behind-the-car perspectives. Though, to be fair, they are nicely varied, unlike the ones in FAST Racing Neo, which were basically all the same.
It’s also some missing options in Fast RMX‘s multiplayer races. While this does boast both online and split-screen multiplayer, it only has one-off races. There’s no multi-race championships, no elimination-type events, or anything unique involving the color matching mechanic.
Ultimately, Fast RMX is a step in the right direction, just not a big enough of one. Like me in high school, this is not living up to its full potential. Or, to put it another way, it’s no F-Zero or Wipeout. Still, if you’re a fan of futuristic racing games, and just want to do some quick but potentially hazardous races, this is no disappointment.